Friday, July 31, 2009
I accept the result, but am skeptical about the explanation.
The real reason seniors don't want Obamacare, I suspect, is the thought of having to submit to end of life counseling every five years. This is how I imagine that would go:
A pale, wan 30-something approaches, tells me I look a little tired and asks for a rundown on my life-threatening ailments. I tell him I have none, that my life and limbs are at risk only when I play hockey, ski downhill in the mountains, or go canoeing in the wilderness.
He asks me if I ever get winded.
"Yeah," I say. "I got winded last night. I went roller-blading on the trails, met a nice woman and got laid. Then I came home, watched some cage fighting, had a few martinis, made dinner and walked the dog. I was ready for bed, but instead I went out for a quick one-mile jog, and came home refreshed."
Do you ever feel dizzy?
"Only when I mistakenly double up on the vodka."
How are your reflexes?
"My reflexes were slowing down a bit until Obama got elected. Now, I reach for the clicker as soon as I see his face on the tv. My goal is to click him away before he gets out his first word, and I usually succeed. My reflexes have improved markedly since he's been in the White House."
How long do you hope to live?
"Well, my ancestors were living to their late 80s a hundred years ago, and I lost an aunt at 98 a few years ago. My chances of reaching 100 are pretty good. I'd have settled for that until you people came along."
"Now, I'm going for 120, and if you come for me before I'm ready, bear in mind that I have guns and know how to shoot."
The NEA was given $80 million of the government's $787 billion economic stimulus bill to spread around to needy artists nationwide, and most of the money is being spent to help preserve jobs in museums, orchestras, theaters and dance troupes that have been hit hard by the recession.
But some of the NEA's grants are spicing up more than the economy. A few of their more risque choices have some taxpayer advocates hot under the collar, including a $50,000 infusion for the Frameline film house, which recently screened Thundercrack, 'the world's only underground kinky art porno horror film, complete with four men, three women and a gorilla.'"
"We can't afford to make perfect the enemy of the absolutely necessary," Obama said at the time.
But he presumably didn't intend to have stimulus money help fund the weekly production of "Perverts Put Out" at San Francisco's CounterPULSE, whose "long-running pansexual performance series" invites guests to "join your fellow pervs for some explicit, twisted fun."
CounterPULSE received a $25,000 grant in the "Dance" category; a staffer there said they were pleased to receive the grant, 'which over the next year will be used to preserve jobs at our small non-profit.'"
He also offered, in response to the president's hope that the Gates arrest would be a "teachable moment," this:
'He's actually right. It is teachable. Here's the lesson: Shut up.'"
He is heading this country toward disaster on many fronts, including a nuclear Iran, which has every prospect of being an irretrievable disaster of almost unimaginable magnitude. We cannot put that genie back in the bottle-- and neither can generations yet unborn. They may yet curse us all for leaving them hostages to nuclear terror."
"The desire of many Americans for a "post-racial" society is well-founded, though the belief that Barack Obama would move in that direction was extremely ill-advised, given the history of his actions and associations.
This is a president on a mission to remake American society in every aspect, by whatever means are necessary and available. That requires taking all kinds of decisions out of the hands of ordinary Americans and transferring them to Washington elites-- and ultimately the number one elite, Barack Obama himself.
Like so many before him who have ruined countries around the world, Obama has a greatly inflated idea of his own capabilities and the prospects of what can be accomplished by rhetoric or even by political power. Often this has been accompanied by an ignorance of history, including the history of how many people before him have tried similar things with disastrous results."
Thursday, July 30, 2009
The Himmelstein study paints a picture of an American middle class that even with health insurance coverage is being bankrupted by health care costs. The share of bankruptcies attributable to health care costs rose by 50%between 2001 and 2007, according to the study. The message is that rising health care costs bankrupt the insured middle class as well as the uninsured lower class.
The only problem is that the study is fatally flawed. Dr. Himmelstein is a co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Program, an organization that describes itself on its Web site as "the only national physician organization in the United States dedicated exclusively to implementing a single-payer national health program." An additional Harvard coauthor, Dr. Steffie Woolhandler, is co-founder and secretary of the organization. Even though the article states on the front page that the authors have no conflict of interest, two are self-declared activists for single-payer health care, and they have twisted the data to fit their cause."
"A study by the Department of Justice examined more than 5,000 bankruptcy cases between 2000 and 2002. It found that 54% of bankruptcies involve no medical debt, and more than 90% have medical debt of less than $5,000. Even among the minority of bankruptcies that report medical debt, only a few have enough to cause personal bankruptcy."
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
In a rational system of governance, the advance against Alzheimer's would seem to have some bearing on calculation of future medical costs, especially for those who are now to receive the benefits of "end of life counseling" through the offices of our overlords in Washington. Future medical costs are, after all, the over-arching argument in the Obama administration's ham-fisted campaign to take charge of health care.
In "The Singularity is Near," Ray Kurzweil, an expert on technological change, theorized that we are approaching the dawn of 200-year life spans. By his calculation, the Singularity will arrive before mid-century.
This would also seem to have some bearing on future medical costs. After all, it promises huge gains in lifetime productivity and relatively disease-free lives. Has it even been mentioned in congressional debate?
What is going on in Washington has little to do with finding a sensible answer to the problem of mounting health care costs. It has to do with creating an artificial urgency, even a frenzy, that will allow the Democrats to build a legislative monument to the Obama administration in the form of government-controlled health care.
Given Obama's plunging popularity, the Democrats may need such a victory in next year's congressional elections.
This is, in essence, a three-alarm presidency. Even routine proceedings, as the health care overhaul ought to be, is elevated to the level of a disaster-in-the-making.
In earlier examples, the administration spent or budgeted trillions of dollars to end the recession and restore growth. But the alarmism went for naught. The recession is still with us.
Now, the administration wants to spend hundreds of billions of dollars more to seize control of health care even as medical research homes in on another victory over a devastating disease.
Is there a brave pollster out there who will measure the public's attitude toward doctors versus the popularity of a president who has slandered them by suggesting they do unnecessary procedures for the money?
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Well, it didn’t take long, Senator. Here we are. And in a moment of clarity - you remind us, yet again - of the cancer in the Republican Party that is responsible to bringing us from 55 members to 40 in a little over two years. You are a pathetic excuse for a Senator… Incapable of maintaining an ounce of principle in your decisions - and giving up the game that your motives are entirely political."
The IPCC's ever-more-confident and apocalyptic warnings rest on the near-impossible task of simulating with computers climate conditions for the whole planet and not for next week but for 50 to 100 years in the future. This, while science still struggles to explain exactly how clouds work.
World-renowned mathematician Freeman Dyson, who in his early years worked alongside Einstein and is now professor of physics at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, had this to say about climate models: "The models solve the equations of fluid dynamics, and they do a very good job of describing the fluid motions of the atmosphere and the oceans. They do a very poor job of describing the clouds, the dust, the chemistry and the biology of fields and farms and forests. They do not begin to describe the real world that we live in."
Questions about Inkwell Foundation emerged over the weekend, part of a tsunami of attention Gates has received since July 16, when he was arrested at his home by a police officer responding to a report about a possible burglary in progress. The incident ignited a national debate over racial profiling, further magnified when President Obama jumped into it."
With race-- as with campaign finance, transparency and the
rest-- Barack Obama knows what the public wants to hear and that is what he has said. But his policies as president have been the opposite of his rhetoric, with race as with other issues.
As a state senator in Illinois, Obama pushed the "racial profiling" issue, so it is hardly surprising that he jumped to the conclusion that a policeman was racial profiling when in fact the cop was investigating a report received from a neighbor that someone seemed to be breaking into the house that Professor Gates was renting in Cambridge."
"President Obama's background as a community organizer has received far too little attention...What does a community organizer do? What he does not do is organize a community. What he organizes are the resentments and paranoia within a community, directing those feelings against other communities, from whom either benefits or revenge are to be gotten, using whatever rhetoric or tactics will accomplish that purpose."
Monday, July 27, 2009
Overall obesity-related health spending reaches $147 billion, double what it was nearly a decade ago, says the study published Monday by the journal Health Affairs.
The higher expense reflects the costs of treating diabetes, heart disease and other ailments far more common for the overweight, concluded the study by government scientists and the nonprofit research group RTI International.
RTI health economist Eric Finkelstein offers a blunt message for lawmakers trying to revamp the health-care system: "Unless you address obesity, you're never going to address rising health-care costs."
Obesity-related conditions now account for 9.1% of all medical spending, up from 6.5% in 1998, the study concluded."
"Regardless of the proper terminology, my column/blog/whatever resulted in a federal investigation of Pino. And after (department head) Jameson let Pino leave his classes at Kent State and travel to the Middle East during that investigation – without proper authorization – he got fired.
All in all it’s been a hell of a week. After beating the “real press” to a story and helping to get a clueless department chairman fired, I got the Secret Service to raid the home of a terrorist professor.
I think I’ll go buy a Glock 10mm, shoot a hog, and send some bacon to Kent, Ohio."
Saturday, July 25, 2009
"President Obama has opened new doors with his courageous campaign to overhaul our health care system," Gore said. "Look, he's calling for end-of-life counseling for old people. Everybody knows that the next step is to cut off medical treatment for those whose time has come and gone."
"I'm just applying the same test to a political issue, global warming."
"Besides, I don't have time for global warming any more. I have a new venture, Paradise Starts Here. Each franchise will be a miniature strip mall. The first stop will be a doctor's office where an MD will check the new patient's vital signs, take blood and urine samples, and do a medical history."
"The doctor will be looking for a compelling reason why this patient should continue to consume limited medical resources. Finding none, he will pass the patient on to the next step. Even if he were to find such a reason it wouldn't matter because there will be only one exit from the doctor's office. It leads to a psychologist, who will work up a report on the patient's state of mind."
"There, too, the findings don't matter much because there will be only one exit from the psychologist's office, which leads to a small office where a minister, rabbi or priest prays with the patient and asks God to forgive his sins. A nurse then administers the lethal shot."
"As in the previous steps there is only one exit, which leads to the crematorium."
"Now, I ask you, how's that for efficiency? I think I can keep the price for the entire exit under $1,000."
"Think of the savings, given the cost of medical treatment for old people, along with the reality that they really don't have that much to live for."
"Down the line we'll probably get to younger people who have incurable diseases. Maybe we'll even get to Republicans. Heh heh. That was a joke."
Friday, July 24, 2009
The list includes 211 Democrats and 8 Republicans.
The purpose of the bill was to reduce carbon emissions into the atmosphere, pleasing global warming alarmists who had ignored the inconvenient truth that global warming vanished a decade ago.
Then, in short order, two more inconvenient truths materialized: China, a huge and rapidly growing industrial economy, declined to participate in either global warming hysteria or the remedies, and India soon followed suit.
This means that, even if the U.S. drops cap and trade, which is unlikely, China and India will continue to undercut American producers in international markets while their economies continue to outpace ours.
That's the rosy scenario.
If the administration abandons cap and trade, it will look weak and irresolute on an issue that the Democrats created and nurtured.
The third scenario is the hellish one. It is also the one that seems most likely to materialize. Determined to stick with his agenda, Obama continues to pursue cap and trade in the Senate.
In that event, Obama will be demonstrating a willingness to cripple U.S. companies in international markets, where their products would bear the added cost of carbon control and become even less competetive on price.
The net gain for air quality? zero.
National atmospheres are not stovepipes. Seal flatulence in Greenland will eventually find its way to Florida. Air sullied by coal dust from new power plants in China will eventually make its way to Camp David.
Cleansing the air over one's own country, at great expense, while other countries continue to pollute, is a fool's errand.
The three-alarm president must now pay the price of his alarmism. Two hundred and nineteen members of the House may share the experience.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
What matters to Obama is his vision of how things should be. That the founders carefully constructed a system through which voters and consumers would determine how things should be does not seem to interest him.
While pursuing the "transformation" of America that he threatened during his campaign, Obama mentions what has been only to point out how deeply flawed it all is.
Now, six months into his presidency Obama's transformational projects are all in trouble as more and more rank and file citizens, as well as politicians of various persuasions, are joining the campaign to stop him in his tracks.
*His bid to revamp health care, a step toward an eventual takeover of the health care industry by government, has been delayed at least until fall. Without drastic surgery, it probably will die. Polls suggest that a majority of Americans would celebrate the death.
*His cap and trade bill, designed to curtail global warming during a period of global cooling, while also raising energy costs in the United States, has become laughable now that China has publicly rejected American suggestions that it join the madness.
If Obama resumes his campaign for cap and trade, he will be supporting a crippling of American businesses in international markets while doing almost nothing to reduce carbon emissions. Those emissions might even rise, given China's plans to add a number of new coal burning power plants to its industrial base.
If Obama's health care overhaul and cap and trade bills both go down, so will his bid to socialize the American economy.
But he'll still gain something from the experience. He'll have new fodder for the thing that seems to animate him most, grievance politics. Maybe he'll accuse all of us of behaving "stupidly."
"...if one more person cites soaring health care costs as an indictment of the free market, when it is in fact a staggering achievement of the free market, I'm going to rupture their appendix and send them to a queue in the UK to get it fixed. Last we'll see of them."
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Ø Despite the billions wasted, audits of the science are left to unpaid volunteers. A dedicated but largely uncoordinated grassroots movement of scientists has sprung up around the globe to test the integrity of “global warming” theory and to compete with a lavishly-funded, highly-organized climate monopsony. Major errors have been exposed again and again.
Ø Carbon trading worldwide reached $126 billion in 2008. Banks, which profit most, are calling for more. Experts are predicting the carbon market will reach $2 - $10 trillion in the near future. Hot air will soon be the largest single commodity traded on global exchanges.
Just weeks before she plans to step down from her position as Alaska governor, Palin signed House Joint Resolution 27, sponsored by state Rep. Mike Kelly on July 10, according to a Tenth Amendment Center report. The resolution "claims sovereignty for the state under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government by the Constitution of the United States."
Alaska's House passed HJR 27 by a vote of 37-0, and the Senate passed it by a vote of 40-0.
While seven states – Tennessee, Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Alaska and Louisiana – have had both houses of their legislatures pass similar decrees, Alaska Gov. Palin and Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen are currently the only governors to have signed their states' sovereignty resolutions."
About one of his subjects, Karl Marx, Johnson made two pertinent observations:
"He was not interested in finding the truth but in proclaiming it."
"He believed, as his poetic imagination told him, that society was on the verge of collapse."
Don't these descriptions seem equally applicable to President Barack Obama?
How do these arrogant, presumptuous politicians believe they can know enough to plan for the rest of us? Who do they think they are? Under cover of helping uninsured people get medical care, they live out their megalomaniacal social-engineering fantasies -- putting our physical and economic health at risk in the process.
Will the American people say "Enough!"?
Who will save us from these despots? What Adam Smith said about the economic planner applies here, too: The politician who tries to design the medical marketplace would "assume an authority which could safely be trusted, not only to no single person, but to no council or senate whatever, and which would nowhere be so dangerous as in the hands of a man who had folly and presumption enough to fancy himself fit to exercise it."
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
When the temperature at the National Weather Service station dipped to 58 degrees at 5:30 a.m. on Tuesday, it wiped out the previous record low for the date of 60 degrees, which was set in 1877.
NWS forecaster Bobby Boyd noted it was the third consecutive morning when Nashville either tied or broke a daily low temperature record.
Temperatures were cool, but did not break records at several Tennessee cities.
Knoxville dropped to 59 degrees Tuesday morning, Chattanooga had 60 degrees, Tri-Cities recorded 58 degrees and Memphis was 69 degrees.
During the call, a blogger from Maine said he kept running into an Investors Business Daily article that claimed Section 102 of the House health legislation would outlaw private insurance. He asked: “Is this true? Will people be able to keep their insurance and will insurers be able to write new policies even though H.R. 3200 is passed?” President Obama replied: “You know, I have to say that I am not familiar with the provision you are talking about."
This is a truly disturbing admission by the President, especially considering that later in the call, Obama promises yet again: “If you have health insurance, and you like it, and you have a doctor that you like, then you can keep it. Period.” How can Obama keep making this promise if he is not familiar with the health legislation that is being written in Congress? Details matter."
As for those uninsured Americans we keep hearing about, there is remarkably little interest in why they don't have insurance. It cannot be poverty, for the poor can automatically get Medicaid.
In fact, we already know that there are people with substantial incomes who choose to spend those incomes on other things, especially if they are young and in good health. If necessary, they can always go to a hospital emergency room and receive treatment there, whether or not they have insurance."
"The point is that health care is largely in your hands. Medical care is in the hands of doctors. Things that depend on what doctors do - cancer survival rates, for example - are already better here than in countries with government-run medical systems. But, if political rhetoric prevails, we may yet sell our birthright and not even get the mess of pottage."
Monday, July 20, 2009
If Judge Sotomayor hadn’t embraced identity politics, it’s unlikely she would have been Barack Obama’s choice. Being a Hispanic woman, while a necessary condition, wouldn’t have been sufficient. Without being the kind of person who holds that a “wise Latina” would reach a better conclusion in a legal dispute than a white male, she wouldn’t have fit the Social Engineer-in-Chief’s agenda of 'change.'"
Sunday, July 19, 2009
The story starts, oddly, in 1991. That was the year Mike Ilitch, a pizza proprietor who owns the Detroit Red Wings, together with the team's brain trust, decided to reach deep into Russia to extract one of the world's best hockey players, Sergei Fedorov.
Fedorov had honed his skills under a tough, highly disciplined system that had made the Soviet Union dominant in international play, until 1980. Now, Fedorov wanted out, and had surreptitiously negotiated, and plotted, with the Red Wings.
In the dead of night, Fedorov made his escape from Russia to Detroit, where he became the nucleus of a Russian-centric Red Wings team. He was followed by Igor Larianov and a number of others who restored the Stanley Cup to Detroit after a long absence.
One day, I happened to catch a televised interview with Larianov, who talked about drinking red wine, not for the buzz but for the health effects. That took me by surprise, so I filed the information away for future reference.
Last year, I returned to it, startled by a sudden decline in my vigor. By virtue of good genes, a sensible lifestyle and vigorous exercise, I am used to feeling 30 years old. Suddenly, I was feeling 40. Then I hit 50.
I had to do something. So, my first question was, has Larianov's red wine thing led to anything?
Yes, it had. Researchers had discovered that a substance found in the skin of red grapes had been found to have health benefits with the potential to extend life.
It's called resveratrol. I've been taking it, in concentrated capsule form, for several weeks. I see better. I hear better. My brain works better. I feel as I did in my 20s, and have trouble remembering what 50 feels like.
It shames me to acknowledge that I have absolutely no financial interest in this or any other product based on the skin of the grape.
I'll have to settle for the vigor and the life extension.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Canada, it seems, is on course to run out of people.
Like other developed societies, Canada has a low birth rate. It isn't just that Canadian couples are wary of child-rearing; it's that, for many, hockey wins out over sex.
For years, Canada has been trying to deal with the problem by welcoming immigrants. But this hasn't worked very well because immigrants often choose the United States. The health care here is better. No long waits for service. Just show up at the emergency room door. Illegal immigrants get faster care in the United States than legals do in Canada.
The result is that immigration can't make up for the shortfall in Canadian births attributable to the popularity of childlessness and hockey.
How bad is the prospect of depopulation?
A new study shows that "the current influx of immigrants — about 0.67 per cent of the resident population — barely makes a dent.
The data show that the only way immigration could offset the declining birth rate is if Canada dismantles border controls and floods the country with well over a half million immigrants a year.
Even then, the government would need to impose rigid "age filters" to ensure that only young people are among the new arrivals."
Chances are, however, that the study did not embrace the possibility of mass migration of Americans to Canada, Americans who are appalled as the silk stocking radicals grab more and more power through the big lie of global warming and the over-hyped flaws of the world's best medical care.
Journalist Mark Steyn is a student of demographics. Here he is on National Review's Corner:
"The transformation of developed societies - either into old folks' homes (like Japan) or semi-Islamized dystopias (like Amsterdam, Brussels, etc) - will lead, in fact, to emigration. A young German or Japanese circa 2040 will have no reason whatsoever to stay in his native land and have most of his income confiscated in a vain attempt to prop up an unsustainable geriatric welfare system. So many will leave. Where will they go? At one time the obvious answer would have been America - but Good King Barack seems determined to saddle us with the same unaffordable entitlements that have scuttled the rest of the west.
"For much of the developed world, the 'credit crunch', the debt burden, and the rest are not part of a cyclical economic downturn but the first manifestations of an existential crisis."
Friday, July 17, 2009
Rasmussen Reports: "Just 35% of U.S. voters now support the creation of a government health insurance company to compete with private health insurers.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 50% of voters oppose setting up a government health insurance company as President Obama and congressional Democrats are now proposing in their health care reform plan. Fifteen percent (15%) are undecided."
Interestingly, we also spend a ton more on these other items now than we did in 1950 because none of these existed in 1950 (well, you could have hired a skilled Italian man to live with you and make you coffee twice a day, so I guess that existed and the price has in fact come down; my bad, analogy shot).
OK, you get the point. Health care today is a combination of stuff that has existed for a while and a set of entirely new things that look like (and really are) miracles from the lens of even a few years ago. We spend more on health care because it’s better. Say it with me again, slowly – this is a good thing, not a bad thing."
As Bill Clinton discovered in the 1990s, private investment can turbocharge an economy, quickly and powerfully. That's why Barack Obama needs to strategically pivot. For starters, he must rein in Washington's new anti-capitalist populism. Then he needs to engage in a new love affair with private sector investment, innovation, and entrepreneurial risk. If he pivots now, he can move us out of this quagmire."
That's right, someone has managed to finance mortgages without putting taxpayers at risk. Just as encouraging, it turns out that investors really can analyze bonds not rated by the government-anointed geniuses at Standard & Poor's, Moody's and Fitch. We'll get to the caveats in a moment, but first let's savor that Washington is willing to consider a new course of treatment that includes the freedom to fail, while Wall Street is showing that markets can solve the problem of opaque securities."
The list of similarities lengthens each week as we live through the application of lessons learned by current officials when they were young. The risk to our nation is that they may have drawn the wrong lessons. Why did officials strong-arm banks to agree to an inversion of debt-holder rights in the Chrysler bankruptcy? It worked for Robert Rubin in December 1997, when he talked bankers into rolling over Korean debt.
Why do officials think bankers can be bullied into more generous mortgage forgiveness? The Indonesian government was induced to disband its monopoly on cloves as a condition for IMF loans in 1998.
Why do U.S. regulators talk up market confidence with stress tests that deliberately omit the recognition of losses associated with bad mortgage decisions? Banks got a similar free pass, at least for a time, when debt values melted away in the 1990s.
Is there anything new in cramming risky lending into off-balance-sheet entities, such as the Federal Reserve? The Exchange Stabilization Fund was used as part of the bailout of Mexico, despite the limitations on its use that its name would seem to imply. Later in the decade, the IMF and the World Bank proved pliant lenders, far in excess of precedent, when encouraged by their chief shareholder, the United States.
The list of similarities lengthens each week as we live through the application of lessons learned by current officials when they were young. The risk to our nation is that they may have drawn the wrong lessons."
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Today there is a disconnect between providers and consumers. Almost all health insurance is covered by third parties--either insurance companies or governments--so patients rarely know what most health care services cost. If you go to a hospital and ask about prices, the staff's immediate reaction is that you must be uninsured. Why else would you want to know what something costs? Yet in just about every other aspect of our commercial lives the price of things is known.
No wonder health care doesn't experience the kind of productivity gains found elsewhere. For example, the cost of food as a proportion of one's income is a mere fraction of what it was decades ago. Twenty years ago cell phones were bulky and expensive; today they have become cheap virtual computers with easy access to the Internet. They even take pictures and videos. There are 4 billion cell phones in use around the world.
In 1900 the automobile was a toy for the rich and cost the equivalent of about $100,000 today. Henry Ford's moving assembly line turned autos into something that any working person could afford.
We could attain similar and ongoing miracles in health care. We are already seeing some in a few areas. Conventional Lasik eye surgery costs a third of what it did ten years ago. And there has been virtually no inflation in the prices of cosmetic surgery, even though there have been enormous technological advances, and the demand for these procedures has increased sixfold since the early 1990s.
Special hospital facilities in India, Thailand, Singapore and elsewhere that engage in medical "tourism" have infection rates a fraction of those found in most U.S. hospitals. These positive results are driven by the fact that patients write the checks and are thus fully conscious of the costs, as well as by the fact that providers are under pressure to make their offerings more enticing and affordable."
Of all the Republicans and Republican-leaning respondents polled, 26 percent favored Romney as the nominee while 21 percent preferred Palin. Nineteen percent favored former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and 14 percent chose former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
While Palin trailed the former Massachusetts governor slightly in presidential preference, the majority of Republicans polled had a more favorable opinion of the Alaska governor than they did of any other GOP candidate.
Seventy-two percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents have a favorable opinion of Palin -- compared with 56 percent for Romney and 59 percent for Huckabee, the poll found."
A federal judge in Santa Ana, Calif., ruled Thursday that former Boeing Co. engineer Dongfan "Greg" Chung stole 300,000 pages of sensitive documents that included information about the U.S. space shuttle and a booster rocket.
The 73-year-old stress analyst was found guilty of six counts of economic espionage and other charges.
Prosecutors say Chung began spying for the Chinese in the late 1970s. They say investigators found papers in his house that included information about a booster rocket's fueling system.
Defense attorneys say Chung was a "pack rat" but not a spy.
"Last time I checked, it takes seven Democrats to stop a bill in the Energy and Commerce Committee," Ross told reporters after a House vote. "We had seven against it last Friday; we have 10 today."
Three House committees are slated to begin considering the $1 trillion-plus bill this week, but the Energy and Commerce looms as the biggest challenge. That's because it counts among its 36 Democratic members seven members of the Blue Dog Coalition, a fiscally conservative bloc that is opposing the House Democrats' effort.
New York's top income bracket could reach as high as 57 percent -- rates not seen in three decades -- to pay for the massive health coverage proposed by House Democrats this week.
The top rate in New York City, home to many of the state's wealthiest people, would be 58.68 percent, the Washington-based Tax Foundation said in a report yesterday.
That means New York's top earners, small-business owners and most dynamic entrepreneurs will be facing new fees and penalties.
The $544 billion tax hike would violate one of President Obama's ironclad campaign promises: No family will pay higher tax rates than they would have paid in the 1990s."
Maybe so, says a new study published online today in the journal Nature Geoscience. The report found that only about half of the warming that occurred during a natural climate change 55 million years ago can be explained by excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. What caused the remainder of the warming is a mystery.
"In a nutshell, theoretical models cannot explain what we observe in the geological record," says oceanographer Gerald Dickens, study co-author and professor of Earth Science at Rice University in Houston. "There appears to be something fundamentally wrong with the way temperature and carbon are linked in climate models."
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
When we first saw the paragraph Tuesday, just after the 1,018-page document was released, we thought we surely must be misreading it. So we sought help from the House Ways and Means Committee.
It turns out we were right: The provision would indeed outlaw individual private coverage. Under the Orwellian header of "Protecting The Choice To Keep Current Coverage," the "Limitation On New Enrollment" section of the bill clearly states:
"Except as provided in this paragraph, the individual health insurance issuer offering such coverage does not enroll any individual in such coverage if the first effective date of coverage is on or after the first day" of the year the legislation becomes law.
So we can all keep our coverage, just as promised — with, of course, exceptions: Those who currently have private individual coverage won't be able to change it. Nor will those who leave a company to work for themselves be free to buy individual plans from private carriers."
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Testifying to Democrats' awareness that America does not want liberal justices for whom affirmative action is holy writ, Sotomayor is being promoted as a practitioner of judicial restraint who faithfully follows the Constitution and the law.
Yet here is a judge who ruled that New York state, by denying felons the vote, violated their civil rights.
How so? As there are disproportionately more blacks and Hispanics in prison, denying convicts the right to vote has a disparate impact on minorities.
The New York law does discriminate, but not on the basis of race, but whether or not you raped, robbed or murdered someone."
Sunday, July 12, 2009
I don't know whether Palin will succeed, and neither does anyone else, which is not to say that pundits won't soon be telling you when and why she will fail.
What we do know is that pursuit of self-interest, at the expense of the national interest, by politicians has brought the United States to a point where collapse or chaos is a plausible result.
Chaos was the objective of Saul Alinsky, godfather of community organizing and mentor of President Barack Obama. To achieve it, he tried to overload whatever governmental system he hoped to defeat.
What has Obama done to overload the system?
He has advocated economically damaging remedies for global warming during a period of global cooling.
He has pushed for radical changes in health care, making the American system more like Canada's, even though Canada's is infamous for its long wait times and unavailabilities. In my neighborhood, Canadians are forming collectives to insure themsleves for care on this side of the border.
He has spent trillions of dollars, driving up the national debt and testing China's willingness to continue funding that debt. In any event, interest costs of the debt will rise, putting additional drag on a flagging economy.
Not everyone is applauding this insanity. There are conservatives in the Democrat Party as well as the Republican Party, and among independents. Can they be rallied to oppose the destruction of America?
We don't know because, until now, no one has tried except the rare, quixotic third-party presidential candidates.
If Palin can do it, even on an ad hoc basis, good for her.
Here's a slogan: "We stoppped Hitler, Tojo and Stalin. We can stop Obama."
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Of course, China has been moving in the direction of free-market capitalism for years. To some extent, this shows the positive benefits of America's free-trade policies and its open-mindedness in helping nurture not only Chinese growth, but also middle-class prosperity worldwide.
But what's particularly galling about Obamanomics is that we may well be losing our competitive edge with Europe. While Europe is ever so slightly moving toward Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, the United States is shifting toward an overtaxed and overregulated model that smacks of Francois Mitterrand. That's something no one should want to tolerate."
On the eve of Sotomayor's Senate confirmation hearing, her advocates have been urging journalists to scrutinize what one called the "troubled and litigious work history" of firefighter Frank Ricci.
This is opposition research: a constant shadow on Capitol Hill.
"The whole business of getting Supreme Court nominees through the process has become bloodsport," said Gary Rose, a government and politics professor at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn.
On Friday, citing in an e-mail "Frank Ricci's troubled and litigious work history," the liberal advocacy group People for the American Way drew reporters' attention to Ricci's past. Other advocates for Sotomayor have discreetly urged journalists to pursue similar story lines."
On matters that bear directly on Obama's agenda of destroying American capitalism, such as cap and trade, the administration has gone to outlandish lengths, forcing the House to take up a bill that no member had read.
Still, there is room for even more alarming alarmism. The stubborn refusal of the economy to get up off the mat, combined with the approach of the 2010 election season, seems likely to put the Obamaites in four-alarm mode.
The preceding post quotes Nouriel Roubini as doubting that the recession will end this year. If the recession does extend into 2010 it is likely to affect the outcome of the 2010 congressional election by depressing contributions to Democrat campaiagns and discouraging some potential Democrat challengers from running.
Obama already is slipping in the polls. Among those with strong opinions, opponents of Obama are running 7 percentage points ahead of supporters in the Rasmussen Poll. The Gallup Poll shows the Democrats' lead in party identification shrinking, but the party still leads Republicans by nine points, 49 percent to 40 percent.
Alleged Republicans who supported Obama, such as Colin Powell, also appear to be having second thoughts. Expressing surprise at the size of Obama's agenda, Powell recently negotiated the first teeny-weeny, unserious climb-down from the Obama train. It wasn't pretty, but everything has to start somewhere.
As the failure of Obama's $787 billion stimulus plan becomes more and more obvious, the credibility of other Republican Obamaites will come into question. Will Warren Buffett ever be regarded as Warren Buffett again? Not likely.
My question is, why did Obama reject the stimlulus option that was most likely to work immediately in favor of one that may not work at all?
An immediate tax cut, perhaps including a timed tax holiday, would have put money in the hands of taxpayers immediately while also giving them reassurance that America was going on as usual despsite the bump in the road.
Instead, the administration chose the pork barrel, which persuaded many Americans that something new was afoot and they'd better hold onto every dime they had. The three-alarm Obamaites, by scaring American consumers, caused the Obama stimulus plan to fail.
How much damage will the four-alarm Obamaites cause? We'll know soon.
Friday, July 10, 2009
It's clear that even if the recession were to be over anytime soon--and it's not going to be over before the end of the year--job losses are going to continue for at least another year and a half. Historically, during the last two recessions, job losses continued for at least a year and a half after the recession was over. During the 2001 recession, the recession was over in November 2001, and job losses continued through August 2003 for a cumulative loss of jobs of over 5 million; this time we are already seeing more than 6 million job losses and the recession is not over.
The details of the unemployment report are even worse than the headline. Not only are there large job losses right now, but as a way of sharing the pain, firms are inducing workers to reduce hours and hourly wages. Therefore, when we're looking at the effect of the labor market on labor income, we should consider that the total value of labor income is the product of jobs, hours and average hourly wages--and that all three elements are falling right now. So the effect on labor income is much more significant than job losses alone."
In fact, only one nominee had a higher level of opposition: Harriet Miers, who was appointed by President George W. Bush in 2005. Miers later withdrew her nomination under questions about her qualifications from both the political left and right.
Forty-seven percent of respondents to the poll say they would like to see the U.S. Senate vote to confirm Sotomayor versus forty-percent who say they would not. In the final CNN poll taken before Miers withdrew her nomination, forty-three percent of respondents said the Senate should oppose her confirmation.
No other recent nominee, not even Robert Bork, whose own nomination under President Ronald Reagan was scuttled, faced public opposition this severe. In the last poll taken during the Bork confirmation fight, thirty-eight percent wanted to see him confirmed versus thirty-five percent who did not."
The city farthest along the path is Los Angeles, famous worldwide for the number, variety, and size of its ethnic and racial street gangs.
Not to worry. It can't happen here."
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner claimed the U.S.’s biggest creditor voiced great confidence in its debt. Kirk, an Illinois Republican, came back with the opposite impression.
“China is beginning to cancel Congress’s credit card,” he told Fox News on June 10. It “doesn’t want to lend much more money to the United States and especially is worried about the Fed’s policy of printing money to buy new debt.”
A month later, there’s no doubt about whose assessment was more accurate. Chinese leaders are clearly very concerned about the dollar. How they will react is a key question hanging over markets, and it’s time to take the discussion to the next level."
My take: I noted some months ago that conservatives are in the odd position of having to rely on the authoritarian regime in China to stop the American president from destroying this country's market-based economic system.
Fortunately, the Chinese are coming through by sending clear signals that the dollar is no longer the currency of their dreams.
They will accomplish what the corruptocrats in Washington refused to even try. By refusing to keep buying U.S. debt they will put a leash on a reckless, arrogant and economically challenged administration that believes it can spend its way back to prosperity.
China is a sure-footed, economically disciplined rising giant that will soon land a haymaker on the preening narcissist in the White House, who prefers to dwell on hallucinations like global warming while the nation's economic underpinnings crumble.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
When women's organizations learned that the stimulus bill was heavily weighted toward shovel-ready manufacturing and construction jobs - men's work - they sprang into action and altered the bill considerably. Shovel-ready jobs gave way to apron-ready jobs.
Now we have what pjtv calls a "mancession," a recession that mostly affects men.
Monday, July 6, 2009
Why the fixation?
In this video, from Reason, P.J. O'Rourke answers the questions: the goal of politicians is control, while the car is the ultimate expression and facilitator of individual freedom.
Sunday, July 5, 2009
"I feel so at home here."
"The architecture is so leveling. By the time we leave the White House, I hope America will look like this."
"I think the czar's idea of Potemkin villages was brilliant. We're going to arrange for villages just like that on strips that have been boarded up because of the recession. In fact, we're going to have a Potemkin Village stimulus bill soon."
"When we flew into Washington for the inauguration it reminded me of Vladimir Lenin arriving on a train at the Finland Station in 1917."
"I'm fascinated by the way Russia treated dissidents. Free room and board. No pesky visitors. Frequent confessions. Is there any chance you'd share some of the insights you gained from that process?"
"Mr. Putin, it's as if we're opposites. Everybody likes us, but nobody is afraid of us. Nobody likes you, but everybody is afraid of you. How can we make people at least a little bit afraid of us?"
"Num chucks? No, we can't carry num chucks. They're illegal in lots of places in the United States. Of course, we could try to get those laws repealed, or struck down by the Supreme Court."
There is one thing Michelle Obama should say in Russia: "Mr. Putin, the average life expectancy in Russia is 59. The only people who die at 59 In the United States are those who vote the wrong way in Chicago."
Friday, July 3, 2009
Thursday, July 2, 2009
It helped cement the public on the 1960s euphemism of first base, second base, third base and home plate for increasingly intimate sexual activities.
But even that is changing. According to a book by Australian sex researchers Juliet Richters and Chris Rissel, in the 1960s third base was "touching below the waist."
"Nowadays it seems that for many people the pattern of accepted activities includes oral sex as third base," Richters and Rissel wrote in "Doing it Down Under."
The spending on overseas travel is up almost tenfold since 1995, and has nearly tripled since 2001, according to the Journal analysis of 60,000 travel records. Hundreds of lawmakers traveled overseas in 2008 at a cost of about $13 million. That's a 50% jump since Democrats took control of Congress two years ago.
The cost of so-called congressional delegations, known among lawmakers as "codels," has risen nearly 70% since 2005, when an influence-peddling scandal led to a ban on travel funded by lobbyists, according to the data.
In mid-June, Sen. Daniel Inouye (D., Hawaii) led a group of a half-dozen senators and their spouses on a four-day trip to France for the biennial Paris Air Show. An itinerary for the event shows that lawmakers flew on the Air Force's version of the Boeing 737, which costs $5,700 an hour to operate. They stayed at the Intercontinental Paris Le Grand Hotel, which advertises rooms from $460 a night."
The astonishing offer is detailed in a flier circulated Wednesday to a health care lobbyist, who provided it to a reporter because the lobbyist said he feels it’s a conflict for the paper to charge for access to, as the flier says, its “health care reporting and editorial staff."
The offer — which essentially turns a news organization into a facilitator for private lobbyist-official encounters — is a new sign of the lengths to which news organizations will go to find revenue at a time when most newspapers are struggling for survival."
What happened in Honduras was not a military coup. Honduras has a civilian president, Roberto Micheletti, a member of former President Manuel Zelaya's own Liberal Party, who was elevated to the post after Mr. Zelaya was removed. The army did not seize power, but acted as the elected government's instrument in ousting Mr. Zelaya, who was well on his way to subverting the Honduran constitution and erecting a dictatorship. "
"In throwing its unqualified support to Mr. Zelaya, the Obama administration is enabling America's strategic foes. This shortsightedness is truly breathtaking and underscores the incoherence of the administration's foreign policy. Smart power? We think not."
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Wal-Mart is a capitalist success story. At the time of our conversation, this lobbyist was helping Wal-Mart fight off employer-mandate legislation in dozens of states. Those measures were specifically designed to hurt Wal-Mart, and were underwritten by the unions and union shops that were losing jobs and business to Wal-Mart.
But it all became clear when the lobbyist explained the reason for Wal-Mart’s position: “Target’s health-benefits costs are lower.”
I have no idea what Target’s or Wal-Mart’s health-benefits costs are. Let’s say that Target spends $5,000 per worker on health benefits and Wal-Mart spends $10,000. An employer mandate that requires both retail giants to spend $9,000 per worker would have no effect on Wal-Mart. But it would cripple one of Wal-Mart’s chief competitors.
So yesterday’s news that Wal-Mart is publicly endorsing a “sensible and equitable” employer mandate — i.e., a mandate that hurts Target but not Wal-Mart — didn’t come as a surprise to me. It merely confirmed what I learned in a cab on the way to the airport: Wal-Mart has gone native. That great symbol of the benefits of free-market competition now joins its erstwhile enemies among the legions of rent-seeking weasels who would rather run to government for protection than earn their keep by making people’s lives better."
"When House Democratic leaders were rounding up votes Friday for the massive climate-change bill, they paid special attention to their colleagues from Ohio who remained stubbornly undecided.
They finally secured the vote of one Ohioan, veteran Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Toledo, the old-fashioned way. They gave her what she wanted - a new federal power authority, similar to Washington state's Bonneville Power Administration, stocked with up to $3.5 billion in taxpayer money available for lending to renewable energy and economic development projects in Ohio and other Midwestern states.
House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry A. Waxman, California Democrat, included the Kaptur project in a 310-page amendment to the legislation unveiled at 3 a.m. Friday, just hours before the bill was to be debated on the House floor. The amendment was packed with other vote-getting provisions, both large and small, that had been sought by dozens of wavering Democrats. "
Almost by unanimity, the Honduran Congress, supported by the Supreme Court, had removed him for breaking the law and ignoring the rulings of the Electoral Tribunal. But that was a technical excuse. The deep truth is a lot more dramatic: Zelaya, obstinate and rash, intent on being reelected at any cost, heedless of all the warnings of the judiciary and the legislature, intended to drag the nation in the direction of Chávez, something that in Honduras would have been the beginning of a huge economic and social Via Crucis."